Clinging to the last of summer…

At the greengrocers over the weekend, we spotted what appeared to be the last of the summer strawberries. Small, red and juicy looking, we snapped up a punnet to enjoy after dinner in front of the telly…

They were awful. Ok, perhaps not awful – it’s hard for something tasteless to be awful – but certainly a disappointment. I decided the best use for them would be in strawberry syrup!

1 punnet strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Bring the sugar and water to the boil in a saucepan, then add the strawberries. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and not allowing to reduce too far. Add optional ingredients to taste – see below – then mush the strawberries with a potato masher if they need a helping hand! Strain through a muslin bag or sieve and pour into sterilised bottles or jars.

(I’ve no idea how long it’ll keep, but I’m still quite happily using a jar of elderberry syrup I made this time last year. Apply common sense!)

I added a spot of vanilla essence and some rose water to sweeten and flavour my syrup, and a crunch of black pepper to draw out the strawberry taste that was lacking a little. You can sweeten it to your taste, or balance out with a drop of lemon juice – although I personally prefer lime with strawberries! Dilute with milk for a delicious milkshake, use in cocktails, drip into porridge or reduce slightly and drizzle over pancakes… Yummy, and far superior to the synthetic strawberry “flavour” so often used in sauces!


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